House cancels vote on Obamacare replacement as Trump fails to gain support for bill

Harriet Sinclair
Paul Ryan and Donald Trump

The House of Representatives has quashed a vote on Donald Trump's proposed replacement for Obamacare after the bill failed to garner enough support in an embarrassing blow to the president.

The vote had originally been postponed from Thursday (23 March) amid fears it would not pass, and an aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan today said the vote had been removed from the schedule.

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Ryan said in a meeting with members of the GOP: "We are going to be living with ObamaCare for the foreseeable future," The Hill reported.

"I spoke to the president a little while ago and I told him the best thing to do was to pull this bill and he agreed with that.

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"I will not sugarcoat this - this is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard," he added.

The move is a serious setback for Trump but the cancellation of the vote was preferable for him rather than seeing the bill voted down by his own party.

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An estimate ahead of the planned vote on the bill put the number of defections from the GOP at 36 - 14 more than could be afforded if the bill was to pass.

In particular, the House Freedom Caucus proved problematic for Trump's bill. Twenty-five members reportedly refused to be swayed in favour of the new legislation, despite a Trump warning that their political futures could be in jeopardy if they failed to support the bill.

Earlier this week he told them: "I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don't get this done."

The president also issued an ultimatum prior to Friday's cancelled vote that if it did not pass, Obamacare would remain in place.

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